The Death of bin Laden and a New 'Political Moment'
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, It's A Free Country Political Reporter Anna Sale talked about what the death of Osama bin Laden means for the GOP, President Obama and the 2012 elections.
By now, almost every pundit and politician has had the opportunity to react to Osama bin Laden's death at the hands of the U.S. military in Pakistan. So what does this mean for the up-coming elections?
Less than a week ago, the public was more concerned with Obama's long form birth certificate than with the announced changes in his national security team. Now, he's responsible for an operation that killed the most wanted terrorist on the FBI's list and it seems to have hushed the birther-talk.
The new 'political moment'
It's a Free Country's political reporter, Anna Sale said this isn't really about whether or not Obama will win the reelection, it's more about how it changes the debate.
Now you see that the Republican field is at this interesting moment where Donald Trump has just been everywhere all the time. He has dominated the conversation about the Republican primary. So now you see Republican consultants sort of looking at this moment saying, maybe finally we'll see some serious candidates emerge, maybe someone's going to be able to take advantage of this moment and step up and reshape the whole dialogue.
One big question on the table has been whether or not people "feel safe" with President Obama in charge, according to Sale. She said the death of bin Laden could also change the way the public really feels about the president.
Back in March over a third of Americans said they considered Obama, as a commander in chief, indecisive and dithering. That is so damning. And then you have this photograph from the Situation Room where President Obama isn't even in the center of the room, but there's no doubt who is in charge and that he is in command of the situation and that he did make America safer by getting rid of Osama bin Laden.
And a 'moment' Obama's been waiting for
Republican challengers have chimed in about bin Laden's death over the past 48 hours and the commentary has been less critical of the President than usual. Sale noted a few examples, but said we have no idea how long these niceties could last. What is clear is that Obama is now on a tack he's wanted to be on for quite some time.
I think what's interesting is Obama being able to talk about a transformative moment, about what makes America America, about us coming together. That is exactly the kind of theme that he's been trying to build his reelection campaign around. When he spoke in Manhattan last week, he talked about the American dream, about making America American again and this is the theme that he's trying to work on with economic issues so it fits right in to that. And then you're of course going to have this image this week when he comes to Ground Zero on Thursday of President Obama at this place, our leader. So certainly this week it's a transformative moment and we are coming together. How long it will last? I'm not sure.
Another national event grabbing part of this "political moment" on Thursday? The very political GOP's first primary debate.